Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Gwinnett Medical Center Now Offering Self-Healing Sports Medicine Treatment

Athletes return to play quicker

Lawrenceville & Duluth, GA - Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is an emerging nonsurgical procedure now available at GMC to help put athletes back in the game quicker. The treatment has been around for more than 10 years, but it was used primarily on racing horses and by oral surgeons. Physicians are now finding that it helps heal human ligaments and sports injuries. PRP facilitates healing by harnessing the body's natural ability to do so and is used for the treatment of wounds, ligaments and tendons.

"I believe that PRP injection is a very promising therapy for treatment of many acute and chronic injuries to the ligaments and tendons." said Dr. Phillips, MD, radiologist for GMC. "Several of our patients have reported marked improvement after months of failed conservative treatment."

Many professional athletes, including football players in the NFL, are currently receiving this therapy. Dr. Phillips is pioneering the PRP treatment in Gwinnett. He also reads the MRI's of the UGA football team and believes this natural method of healing can shorten rehabilitation time.

The PRP treatment consists of injecting portions of a patient's own blood directly into an injured area, which stimulates the body's cells to repair damaged tissue. Platelet-rich plasma is made by placing the patient's blood in a centrifuge that rotates at high speed and isolates the platelets from the rest of the blood. Finally, a few teaspoons of platelets are then injected into the damaged area to serve as a natural catalyst for the healing process.

One of Dr. Phillips first patients, Molly Gay, is a sixteen year-old athlete from Lakeview Academy. Molly had been struggling with patellar tendonitis, or 'jumpers knee'. Her inflamed ligaments caused immense pain and resulted in Molly sitting out for half of her 2009 volleyball season.

"Participating in sports makes her high school experience whole," said Dana Gay, Molly's mother. "After trying everything but surgery, it made sense to try a procedure with no negative side effects. The procedure took minutes and Molly has even been able to perform moderate physical activity as she prepares for basketball season."

The procedure is less invasive than surgery and will help heal the injured tissue. Patients can see a significant improvement in symptoms. This may eliminate the need for more aggressive treatments such as long term medication or surgery as well as a remarkable return of function. The Department of Radiology, headed by Dr. Val Philips, will be offering this quick outpatient treatment on referral by GMC's Sports Medicine physicians. GMC's sports medicine program performs the most surgeries in the state and ranks in the 99 percentile for patient satisfaction.

About Gwinnett Medical Center:
Now celebrating the 25th anniversary of its flagship campus, Gwinnett Medical Center is a not-for-profit healthcare network providing award-winning healthcare services to the Gwinnett community and beyond. Campuses in both Duluth and Lawrenceville provide acute care, outpatient services, orthopedic and neuroscience specialty care as well as a full continuum of wellness services. Digital imaging is the standard of care at all GMC facilities including the newest imaging center in north Gwinnett's Hamilton Mill area. In 2008, GMC's 4,300 associates and 800 physicians served more than 400,000 patients. Gwinnett Medical Center's incredible vision for the future is to transform healthcare. To learn more, visit

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